Proposed Bylaw Amendments From Cabinet 2015
This year’s proposed bylaw amendments from the Bylaw Committee fell into two broad categories. First and foremost, the committee proposed some first-step bylaw changes to facilitate the Five Stakes that are part of Reimagine Foursquare. The committee foresees that further Reimagine bylaw changes will be forthcoming in the next several years as more is known and finalized.
The second broad category consists of bylaw changes to catch up with changes that have already been implemented in the way The Foursquare Church functions. The cabinet reviewed and approved all of the revisions proposed by the Bylaw Committee.
Reimagine Foursquare Bylaw Proposals
Foursquare Association: The definition, scope and function of the Foursquare Association will change. In the future, the Foursquare Association will refer to ministers, but not churches. As before, licensed Foursquare ministers will automatically be members of the Foursquare Association. Christian ministers who are not licensed by The Foursquare Church may also apply for membership in the Foursquare Association. Because the Foursquare Association will no longer include local church membership, references to “community church” and “covenant church” are removed from the bylaws.
Independent Church Joining The Foursquare Church: In past versions of the bylaws, this process has lacked clarity. As proposed, an independent church may join The Foursquare Church without giving up title to its real property if it prefers not to do so. The joining church may hold title to its real property in a separate legal entity. There will be a written “covenant agreement” between the incoming church and The Foursquare Church in which the incoming church pledges to conduct itself as a local Foursquare church governed by Foursquare bylaws.
Local Church As a Tenant: As proposed, month-to-month rental agreements in which a local Foursquare church is a tenant will no longer require approval by the board of directors or local church membership. The church council will have authority to enter into month-to-month landlord/tenant agreements where the church is a tenant. Additionally, most lease renewals, including renewals of leases that are longer than month-to-month, can be approved solely by the church council.
Local Church As a Landlord: As proposed, as a landlord renting church real property, the church council may enter into leases of less than five years, and the renewal of such leases, solely on its own authority.
“Catch Up” and Other Miscellaneous Bylaw Proposals
Pioneer Church: For some time now, the National Church Office (NCO) and the district offices have referred to a new church plant as a District Church rather than a Pioneer Church. This change in nomenclature is proposed to be made in the bylaws as well.
Foursquare Gospel: Most often in written and verbal communications referring to a local Foursquare church as well as the Foursquare denomination, the word “Gospel” is no longer used by Foursquare people or others. To catch up to this reality, the word “Gospel” should be dropped from our name. Of course, this does not signify in any way a devaluation of our core mission to preach the gospel.
District Supervisor Job Description: Present and prior bylaws have always stated that a district supervisor shall act in the role of the church council whenever a church plant or other local church does not have a church council. But this responsibility has never been stated as part of the district supervisor’s job description. To make the bylaws internally consistent, this role is being added to the job description of a district supervisor.
Foursquare Credentials Name Change: A license issued by The Foursquare Church pertains only to ministers assigned to an appointment in the United States, authorized missionaries and recognized retired ministers. It is not an international license per se. As proposed, a licensed issued by The Foursquare Church will be known as a national license. Further, all bylaw references to district license are to be deleted. The NCO and the corporate secretary’s office have already adopted these changes.
FMI Fund Name Change: The current bylaws referred to unrestricted gifts to Foursquare Missions International (FMI) as a gift to the “International Foursquare Missions Fund.” FMI has already dropped this name and replaced it with the term Global Mission Fund. This name change should be made in the bylaws as well.
Church Planting in Other Nations: To rectify confusion in this area, created in part by an absence of clarity in the bylaws, it is proposed that, in order to be recognized as a local Foursquare church, a minister from the U.S. planting a church in another country must have obtained the prior knowledge and consent of FMI and the Foursquare organization, if any, of that country.
Local Church Council Changes: (1) The selection process is clarified. (2) The council’s duty to keep spending within the church’s budget is expanded to include all personnel-related expenses. (3) The church council must obtain prior district supervisor consent before initiating a lawsuit.
Employee Status of Non-Foursquare Appointment: Existing bylaws provide that Foursquare licensed ministers may, with prior board approval, minister in non-Foursquare related appointments. The proposed bylaw amendment clarifies that, while serving in a non-Foursquare related appointment, a Foursquare minister is not an employee of The Foursquare Church or any local Foursquare church.
Miscellaneous Proposals: (1) The cabinet is a recommending body rather than an approving body with respect to reports to be presented at Connection. (2) Procedure for chartering a local Foursquare church is clarified. (3) Permanent baptistery is no longer a required element of new church sanctuary construction.